Bill 829, enacted in 1988, made redfish a
gamefish for the next three years in Louisiana.
After a preliminary draft had easily passed
the Senate, Sen. Fritz Windhorst jokingly
asked fellow New Orleans Sen. Ben Bagert,
author of the bill, if he thought St. Peter
“St. Peter answers to the big man and
the big man said we should be good stewards
of our resources.”
said Windhorst, “we’re doing the
Lord’s work.” Bagert, who was
dressed totally in white for the occasion,
before, during a late night strategy session
among seafood dealers, Ted Loupe, of Gulf
Tide Seafood in Leeville, had stated that
“St. Peter didn’t just go fishin’
on Saturday. He never won a gold cup. St.
Peter used a net, and he fished to make a
that St. Peter would be called up during the
recent struggle over redfish in Catholic-dominated
South Louisiana. The way things turned out,
it’s also lucky he switched to netting
for men because, as a fisherman, the good
saint would now be having a heck of a time
makin’ a livin’.
Houston Serigny, pp. 125-131.
Profile of French-speaking Cajun redfisherman,
in his own words.
was doin’ it--sellin’ the fish--it
was to feed our families. But they got good
jobs, they make a lot of money and that’s
why they call ‘em “Sports.”
They got $25,000, $30,000 boats.
This is the
first winter ever we won’t be able to
fish the reds. But we have to watch them come
in with ice chests full o’ fish. If
they wanted to close the fish, close it for
everybody. They’re not more than us,
you, it hurts me. It hurts my boy. It hurts
everybody from Lafourche Parish. I mean all
the poor people that used to make a livin’,
they can’t no mo’. And it’s
gonna get worse than that, the way it’s
goin’. I don’t see no future where
the people can make a livin.’
Redfish Blues, pp. 133-142. Deprived
of their wintertime staple, coastal fishermen
suffer, as do coastal, state and national
economies. Seafood dealers in Louisiana--home
of the planet’s biggest redfish nursery--begin
to import ersatz “redfish” from
Latin America. “Conservationists,”
meanwhile, prod Legislature to sell Louisiana’s
sport fishing “around the world.”
Louisiana Redfish Fight II, pp. 143-174.
Gamefish status on redfish is scheduled to
“sunset” in 1991, which would
allow commercial fishermen back into the fishery.
The commercial fishing industry finally tries
its hand at educating the media, which weighs
in on both sides of the issue. GCCA fans the
emotions of envious and obedient sportsmen.
Traditional fishermen put up gallant fight
but remain locked out of the fishery.
Toups, pp. 175-184. Profile of French-speaking
Cajun redfisherman, in his own words.
started trammel nettin’ when I
was about 35; almost 40 years ago. And
since then, I’ve caught a lot
of fish. I’ve caught my share
all that time, I’ve seen it when
they didn’t have no fish and I’ve
seen it when there was a lot of fish.
But everything that happen, it’s
blamed on the fisherman. You know, when
there gonna come a red tide--clean out
all the fish, you don’t hear nothin’
about that--they don’t blame the
big ice come, like in ‘89, clean
out everything from Texas to Alabama.
It didn’t clean out a little bit,
it clean everything. I saw enough fish
dead, it was unbelievable, the fish that
was dead. But its’ not the ice that
kill ‘em, it’s me!
Seatrout, pp. 185-206. The trout
is another bitterly contested species that’s
vital to both sport and commercial industries.
Tension mounts as numbers of sport and commercial
fishermen increase, and the fish’s habitat
sport fishermen, netters reluctantly adopt
larger mesh sizes that don’t stop trout
until they’ve spawned at least once,
probably twice--an example of how the tension
between the two industries--the “two-party
system“--is beneficial. But sportsmen
don’t know when to quit and, already
responsible for 90% of the annual harvest,
go after the remaining 10%.
McCall, pp. 207-218. McCall lived
to fish, and relocated to Louisiana after
his territory in Tampa Bay became overdeveloped.
In his own words, he describes the effects
of development on coastal fisheries.
used to be a big, wide-open bay with a lot
of grass flats. Shallow water, grassy bottom.
When they got through, all that was gone.
They even filled in the main channel. They
filled in places that the developers never
even bought. It wound up on Boca Ciega that
there were just channels between the real
had to fall off. The fish didn’t have
anywhere to go. But, of course, we got the
I remember the
newspaper interviewed one Sport who’d
been sold a bill of goods about how good the
fishin’ was. He moved down from up North
somewhere and then couldn’t catch any
fish. He was really comin’ down on the
commercial fishermen but never mentioned that
his new waterfront home was built on top of
what had been some of the best grass flats
Click on a chapter for a synopsis: